Following the tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, I am hopeful that coming together to take action will lead to serious change. These bright youth are standing up strong to have their voices heard. Their power and bravery are incredible. They’ve started a movement to help overcome death and destruction, and to make sure this terrible tragedy never happens again.
You may want to join them, or already participate in a nonprofit or cause.
Here are six tips for getting involved to MAKE A DIFFERENCE:
- What’s it all about?
Information on any cause or organization is usually available to anyone who wants to get involved. Did you know that the Stoneman Douglas March for Our Lives will be held March 24 in Washington D.C.? You can join them, or some of the other marches happening here in South Florida, and across the nation. Participate by planning to go and spreading the word about event schedules, pivotal updates and recaps of related events going on before and after it. Movements need to do just that—MOVE. Don’t sit still, stand up and fight.
- Snail mail.
Putting pen to paper helps create change. The weight of loads of letters to local lawmakers can help your cause get on their radar. Their contact information is public record. With a little bit of research, you can take that extra step to getting in front of those who are in charge of changing laws and bill making. Let them know you and your supporters are serious about making a change. You can even plan a visit to the State Legislature or Washington, D.C., to meet with lawmakers face to face.
- Letters to the editor.
National press coverage is great, but don’t forget your local leaders. Pen a letter to newspaper editorial board editors voicing your opinion. Letters should be no more than 200 words, if at all possible. They should also contain statistics to prove your point of view and help sway theirs.
- Show support.
Even the smallest bit of encouragement can go a long way. Volunteer at events. Contribute to official fundraisers. Wear a hat or T-shirt to stand in solidarity.
- Dial in.
Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone. Call reporters, television and radio stations. Let them know why what you’re advocating for is important, and why they should care. Invite them to attend events to learn more. Even if they don’t come, provide them with a recap, photos, video or a quote. Make their jobs easier by packaging it all together for them to share with their audiences.
- Use your social media platforms.
Social media is your friend. You can reach a tremendous number of people with a simple click. Start an online community group where people can go to discuss the next move, brainstorm ideas and connect with each other. With the way social media platforms are set up these days, consider investing a few dollars to boost your posts. This allows you to hand select your audience based off of age, gender, location, interests, occupation, education, income and more. By engaging in pay-for-play, you can be sure that your information is not only reaching an audience, but strategically reaching the right audience.
PRO TIP: Use a hashtag in all of your marketing and social media content. It is similar to using a slogan or logo in that it will make it easier to recognize your organization’s movement. People will be able to search for related news and posts, and join in on the conversation. #NeverAgain is one of the hashtags used to advocate for change in memory of the Parkland victims. It is both their message and mission, to never again have what happened on Valentine’s Day 2018. Their push for change started with victims and has since become an internationally known movement.
People around the country are impacted by similar issues every day. Use social media to bring people together. Partner with related associations, lobbyists and appointed officials. Take a step out of the office and join a march. Attend town hall meetings. Remind people to vote in elections. The more people behind your cause, the better. Evoke emotion. Get people fired up about change.
- Fight for the right.
The path to change will not be easy. You will face setbacks and opposition. Through it all, always remember that there will be someone on your side, supporting your efforts and all that you do. Don’t give up. Nothing worth having comes easy.
- Don’t stop believing.
We must continue to fight for what we believe in. You can help make a difference. If you don’t see a change, be the change!
Julie Talenfeld is the president of BoardroomPR, an integrated marketing and PR firm based in South Florida. She can be reached at email@example.com.